U.S. Air Force photto by Rebecca Burylo
Student George Cabrera holds a "knife" to self-defense instructor Debbie Robison's throat. She shows that by simply throwing her arms up in a position of surrender, she actually locks the arm of the attacker, disabling the thrust of the "knife."
Class teaches self-defense moves, mentality

by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

9/4/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -  -- Getting home safely seems simple enough, but it's sometimes taken for granted, according to Debbie Robison, the new self-defense instructor at Maxwell.

Her six-week program will teach students age 8 and older basic defense against rape, carjacking, chokes and attacks.

Robison, 54, who is a seconddegree black belt, said a solid self-defense education is the only thing between people and their mental and physical wellbeing.

"You can't rely on your husband, your gun or anything else. You got to rely on what you got," she said.

Robison will demonstrate simple movements of the body to get out of someone's grip, avoid a bullet or use the strength of an attacker against them.

"You don't have to be fast or strong or in good shape to do them," she said. "They're just everyday movements used in a fight situation."

Even everyday objects can be used as weapons of defense in getting home safe if people are made aware of what is near them to use in any given situation.

"It's basic self-defense applied with things that are around you, like a chair, the wall, your purse, whatever you can lay your hands on is what you can fight with," said Robison.

During this six- week course, Robison also will teach environmental awareness and mental strength, which she says is the bigger part of defending oneself.

"It starts in the mind," said Robison. "They [attackers] first try to attack you mentally before they do anything physical. They will try to bully you or try to tear you down emotionally."

In these instances, she explained that body language is a key sign of hostile intentions and paying attention to those in the vicinity could indicate possible threats.

In addition to being a self-defense instructor for 24 years, Robison also has been practicing martial arts for her whole adult life and received a black belt in the art of bujinkan ninjutsu. She implements some ninjutsu techniques into her classes, especially with her intermediate and advanced students.

The rest of what is taught comes from pure experience. While living on her own for a few years raising her two children, Robison's main concern was for her and her family's safety. She said she learned quickly how to think on her feet in some possibly harmful situations.

She now passes her experience on to others.

Classes meet Mondays beginning Sept. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Maxwell Event Center and Thursdays beginning Sept. 13 from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Gunter Community Center.

Students must attend all meetings in order to graduate and earn their certificate. No refunds are given once the course has begun.

The basic self-defense course costs $125 and upon completion students are offered to continue to the intermediate and advanced courses.

To pre-register call the MEC at 953-7370 or GCC at 416-4888. Students need to wear comfortable clothes and bring a notebook and water. For questions, contact Robison at 669-7673.